Abuja, Sept 3, 2015. The Federal Government on Thursday said the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept was a child of necessity “that must be nurtured to fruition’’ in its quest to reverse the country’s infrastructure deficit. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, stated this at a PPP consultative forum organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in Abuja.
She said that massive investments beyond the means available to government were needed to close the country’s infrastructure gap, which she described as yawning. According to her, the PPP concept is a critical instrument that can marshal private sector investments in the country’s public infrastructure development.
It will be recalled that the Urban Development Bank recently estimated the country’s infrastructure deficit at $300 billion. Mrs Daniel-Nwaobiablamed the situation on many years of under-investment and poor maintenance, adding that the decay was hampering the development and economic growth of the country. “The Federal Government believes that the private sector can play an important role in providing some of these new investments through PPPs.
“In line with global trends, the era of government only financing public infrastructure using the traditional procurement methods has since become a thing of the past.
“For this reason, Nigeria, like other governments worldwide is looking at new ways including PPPs to finance its projects including provision of infrastructure and services.
Mrs Daniel-Nwaobia, however, noted that there was still a major knowledge gap within the public sector since the PPP was a relatively new concept in the country. She urged officers in the relevant ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) charged with the execution of PPP projects to equip themselves with the requisite knowledge. This, she emphasised, was to enable them to deliver on the promise that the PPP method of project financing holds for the country.
“This forum provides useful platform through which MDAs can meet regularly to compare notes on the progress of the PPP initiatives in their respective areas and also share knowledge on PPP generally.
“We must not only learn individually, but also be prepared to learn collectively by sharing our experiences and resources.
“There is a need for every one of us to learn from the consultants and experts working on projects with us and actively participate in conjunction with them in structuring and executing projects.
“We must also learn from past mistakes from previous projects so that we can deliver quicker, more effective and better projects in a more efficient manner through PPPs,’’ she said.
The Director General of ICRC, Mr Aminu Diko, said that the forum was an informal stakeholder engagement platform to accelerate knowledge and experience sharing among PPP personnel in federal MDAs.He was represented by Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Executive Director of PPP Resource Department in the ICRC.
“It is my sincere hope that this forum will continue to build capacity and promote best practices that can deliver sustainable and successful PPP projects that will actualise the Nigeria of our dreams.
“On our own part, the ICRC will continue to be responsive to your feedbacks, provide all the necessary support towards upscaling our national infrastructure stock through PPP procurement methodology,’’ he said.